Monday, 20 April 2015

Reminiscing an evening of Peroni Aperitivo

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Relishing an age old culture that began trending in Italy in the late 17th Century, Peroni organised an elegant and exclusive 'Aperitivo Evening' earlier this month. In a long time, I cannot recollect an evening that was more exclusive and elegant. In fact by just the idea of it, I quite looked forward to this evening hosted by Peroni India at Bang; Ritz Carlton Bengaluru's rooftop lounge.

While Italy is often said and known to have a dominant 'Food Culture'; an Aperitivo evening is the only exception for it clearly exudes 'Drinks Culture'. Friends catch up for socialising and spending a relaxed evening over drinks and Aperitivo meaning light snacks.

As the evening intended, we spent the rest of the evening catching up with friends, socialising and all of this in the company of the lovely Peroni Beer an extensive spread of Aperitivo. Here's a pictorial recollection of an unforgettable evening:

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Celebrate #BaisakhiAtJW with Chef Jolly @ JW Marriott, Bengaluru

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It denotes celebration of harvest and also a celebration of their New Year. A celebration with pomp, festivity and rich gourmet indulgence can be none other that Punjab's very own; rich in tradition and heritage Baisakhi festival.

Though thousands of miles away from Punjab; this vibrance of colors, the liveliness of the streets of Amritsar and a culinary indulgence of the state of Punjab has been recreated by Chef Jolly and his team at JW Marriott Bengaluru's pool side restaurants - Spice Terrace.

Hailing from Punjab himself and emphasising on the importance of keeping it authentic; Chef Jolly spend time in Punjab to bring the nuances of the masters themselves. There's no shying away from the fact that Punjabi's love their food rich and scrumptious but what surprised me was that a sizeable chunk of the population in Punjab are vegetarians. Okay! what if I said 'Majority'?

Moving on it was a long evening that started with a Roohafza shikanji a twist to well, the roohafza itself. It was sweet, had a nice lingering flavor of lime and mint with the crushed ice added to it just adding a perfect marriage of flavors, crunch and temperature.

Over to food, it Punjabi indulgence and it's got to start with a nice and fresh Amritsari Macchi which is a fish coated with a seasoned batter and fried. Soon followed was also one of the stars of the day - Lamb chops. This was no fancy New Zealand lamb but was our very own desi lamb which was perfectly marinated to have the spices and flavor seep into the meat.

For vegetarians, there was sheekh kebab, rajma ki tikki, paneer and lots more. There was so much to eat that I decided to stick to non-vegetarian. Bhatti da murgh was succulent and flavorful. Tandoori Jhinga were juicy and perfectly crunch prawns marinated with tandoori spices and cooked in a tandoor. I could have eaten more but knew mains would follow soon.

In mains, no guesses required - baingan da bhartha, tawa chicken, mutton keema kaleji,  and of course the maa di daal.  I loved the simplicity of the baingan da bartha followed closely by the taw chicken. All of this was accompanied by assorted breads but right from the beginning, I had my eyes and mind set for the Amitsari Kulcha. When it was time, I did not deviate. It surely made for a lovely combination for the mains.

For desserts, I tried the badam da halwa, gulab jamun and jalebi with rabdi. My personal favorite of the batch was the gulab jamun.

What I tried was just a small segment of the buffet which is priced at 1599 plus taxes and charges. With just 2 days to go I recommend you head down to JW Marriott Bengaluru till 19th April to celebrate #BaisakhiAtJW with Chef Jolly.

Address: 24/1, Vittal Mallya Road, Bangalore - 560001
Phone Number: +91 80671 89999

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

New Menu @ The Fatty Bao

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Normally, innovation is something you don't expect in most cases but with Manu Chandra, innovation is the least you can expect. The bar set by him is already high and yet you walk out post a meal which has easily surpassed these expectation. When 'The Fatty Bao launched last year, I was excited to visit this restaurant and again at this time of the year I was really excited to get to preview the new menu that was recently launched.

The new menu has a lot of interesting and innovative stuff. While I really love things from their old menu; I kept focus on just the new offerings. And the good news is; there's plenty of new stuff on the menu and even better there's plenty for the vegetarians as well.

Puja and I visited one Sunday afternoon and unlike my prior visits, we chose to take a table on the 3rd floor instead of the Rooftop bar. We walked in pretty early to just find a couple of tables taken and in no time we realized the restaurant was packed to full capacity and the wait list began to grow. Bringing focus back to the food and drinks, we spent a leisurely afternoon over loads of great food and a few drinks.

We cruised through the menu starting with Sushi rolls - 'Spicy Salmon and Dill roll' for me in non-vegetarian and 'Asparagus Tempura and Cream Cheese Roll' in vegetarian for Puja.

Next up was Bao - Sheng Jian Bao which was first steamed and then seared on a cast iron pan. On the vegetarian pan it was the 'Spicy Tofu and Spring Onion Bao' and on my non-vegetarian side, it was the 'Lamb with Oyster Sauce Bao'. The bao's both tofu and lamb were so delicious; we reserved the last piece of it for the end of the meal.

We tried two new dim-sums off the menu - 'Spicy pumpkin and Radish dim-sum' and the 'Prawn and Garlic Chive dim-sum' from the non-vegetarian segment.They came served in small steamer baskets in the company of an assortment of dips which included the black bean dip, soy with herbs dip and spicy tomato dip. The dips made for really nice accompaniments but neither the bao not the dim-sums needed them to be enjoyed. They were so good all by themselves.

Drinks always kept company as we ate, I tried the 'Green Kimino' - A drink of Absolut Pepper, fresh pineapple blended with curry leaves and lemongrass and garnished with a celery stick which added to the freshness in flavor. A very Asian drink taking me down memory lane to a recent holiday in Asia. 'Ho Gin Min' has been on the menu since the start and the combination of Aniseed and ginger did not really appeal to my palate. 'The Fatty Sour' is a twist to the classic ad I've always enjoyed this Jameson Irish Whisky drink.

We also tried a mocktail called 'SeƱorita Sangria' which was a cranberry based drink with fruits soaked in it.

I love Baos right from the time I ate them for the first time in US way back in 2007. In Bangalore, I am confident that the best bao available is at 'The Fatty Bao' followed by 'Monkey Bar'. After some great dimsums, we were back at eating bao. This time, it was the open-faced bao with a filling of 'Miso-Eggplant' in one and 'Chicken Katsu' in another. So yes, one was the vegetarian and the other non-vegetarian. Both were scrumptious and specifically in the non-vegetarian Char Sui Bao takes the top spot. But if pork belly is not your preferred choice of meat the Chicken Katsu is clearly the way to go. Like I've said it earlier, this bao is best enjoyed in about 3 mouthful bites.

In small plates,  it was 'Stir Fried Pork Neck' that I really enjoyed. It was stir fried with Asian greens, ginger and basil in chili bean sauce. The sauce was well balanced and married well with the succulent pork meat without really trying to over power it.

Ramen at The Fatty Bao have been a delight in my previous visits. This time, we tried a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian ramen which clearly are meals in a bowl. Puja enjoyed the 'Stir Fried Kimchi Ramen with Spicy Tofu' and for me it was 'Lamb Tsukune Ramen'. Just going by the description of 'Lamb Tsukune Ramen' on the menu; I looked forward to relish this bowl of ramen and when it arrived, it had my favorite right on top - minced lamb meatballs. It was a Miso-Korean Chili paste broth with works like sauteed spinach, sweet corn, sprouts and pickled egg. Portions are great and a bowl of ramen is best shared among two especially if you have gone in for various courses.

Having eaten so much, we did not have any space left for either trying anything from the large plates section or desserts and decided to skip it during this meal.

It was a fantastic Sunday afternoon with the atmosphere at The Fatty Bao filled with a wonderful vibrancy and loads of new dishes on the menu for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Cocktails here are interesting with 'The Fatty Sour' being my favorite here since my previous visits followed by Green Kimino which I tried on this visit. A meal experience for two including food and a cocktail each will average at Rs 2500 plus taxes and charges.

Whether you are looking for a quick lunch or spending a leisurely afternoon or an evening with friends over some after-work drinks, a fun Asian rooftop bar; The Fatty Bao is the perfect destination.

Address: #610, 3rd Floor, 12th Main Road, HAL 2nd Stage, Opp. State Bank of India, Indiranagar, Bangalore
Phone Number: +91 80 4411 4499